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YOUNGSTOWN School board sues church over building



Published: Fri, June 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The proposed sale of the building two years ago was never finalized, the board's attorney said.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The long-running dispute between the city school board and Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church is heading to the courtroom.

The school district has filed a lawsuit in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court demanding that the church pay $166,673 in back rent and other charges for leasing the former Princeton Junior High School on the city's South Side.

The church signed a lease in July 1995 to house its Calvary Christian Academy in the 87-year-old former junior high school, which the board closed in 1995. The academy is a private school for elementary, middle and high school pupils.

By March 1999, however, the school district said the church was nearly $40,000 behind in rent payments, and district officials began pressuring the church to pay up.

In July 1999, the school board agreed to sell the building to the church for $25,000. Atty. Ted Roberts, representing the school district, said the district received two $12,500 payments from the church.

The sale of the building, however, was never approved by the state commission overseeing the school district at the time, which had final authority over the sale. So, the $25,000 instead was credited to back rent owed by the church, Roberts said.

Relocation: The church is planning to vacate the building and relocate the academy, said Atty. Matthew J. Blair, who represents the church.

Blair said he was not aware of the lawsuit.

Attached to the lawsuit is a letter Roberts sent to the church's attorney in February asking that the back rent and other charges be paid within five days.

Roberts said the school district waited until the end of the school year so it would not interrupt the education of pupils at Calvary Christian Academy.




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